Our People

Photo of 4 people's arms all joining hands together in the middle; the image represents the 'Our People' Transformation Focus Area.

The NRC has embarked upon a transformation effort to become a modern, risk-informed regulator. To achieve our vision, we will maintain an engaged and highly skilled workforce now and in the future.

On this page:

Defining our Culture

The NRC's culture is shaped by its people. In 2018, the NRC developed a leadership model to provide clear expectations regarding how every NRC employee individually and collectively demonstrates leadership in fulfilling the NRC mission. The Leadership Model is a roadmap for communicating the behaviors and attitudes that are expected and valued within the NRC.

Culture has an influential role in how we do business as it sets the tone and expectations for how we get work done, to include how we make decisions as well as how we interact, innovate, and collaborate with one another. Our culture describes the norms for how we go about fostering new ideas for organizational improvement in addition to how we encourage continuous learning and "thinking big" across all areas of the agency. Culture also enhances our adaptability and receptivity to change so that we can maximize our individual performance and organizational effectiveness in a changing environment.

The NRC has proactively identified culture as one of our transformation initiatives to create a positive work environment where staff will feel engaged and empowered to lead during times of change and demonstrate behaviors that enable trust. The Culture initiative is focused on aligning our culture with our transformation vision by systematically assessing and identifying the behavioral norms and expectations needed to align with our leadership model and our vision of being a modern, risk-informed regulator.

The Culture initiative team launched a first-of-its-kind internal culture survey that assessed the agency's current culture and desired culture. In addition, the team analyzed the results from our agency's routine climate surveys and conducted several internal focus groups to expand upon the input received from the culture survey. Collectively, this information was used to develop an internal culture improvement plan that described tangible actions that can help the NRC workforce continue to meet our important safety and security mission while also making improvements. Working to realize an ideal culture re-affirms our commitment to the agency's Leadership Model, which includes our organizational values.

Retaining and Developing our Workforce

The NRC must ensure our ability to retain and develop a skilled and diverse workforce with the skills and agility necessary to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment. Changes in workforce levels, retaining and attracting talent, and advances in reactor technologies requiring skills and knowledge were common themes from the NRC Futures Assessment and Futures Jam.

In 2017, the NRC began implementing enhancements to its strategic workforce planning process. The process enhances the NRC's ability to meet current and future workforce needs by integrating the NRC's workload projection, skills identification, human capital management, individual development, and workforce management activities.

In 2019, the NRC introduced a new tool for managing employee training and development. The Talent Management System provides blended learning opportunities to help the NRC's current workforce gain new skills as reactors, materials, waste, and security technology advances. Blended learning is a combination of traditional in-class/hands-on demonstrations and virtual instruction. Employees can access a variety of courses to hone their existing skill set, gain new skills about emerging trends in technology, and develop leadership and communication skills. The NRC's Talent Management System provides our workforce with the necessary tools to gain skills to accomplish our mission now and in the future.

Following the Futures Jam, the Career Enhancement transformation initiative identified areas for improvement in communicating and implementing our human capital programs. The career enhancement initiative aimed to ensure that employees are equipped with tools that will help them meet the NRC's current and future skill needs. The initiative created a new tool to communicate NRC human capital policies, assessments and activities, in a centralized manner. On April 1, 2020, the Guide to Career Enhancement tool was launched agencywide. This interactive guide provides staff links to internal policies and resources and links to external policies and resources provided by the Office of Personnel Management. The Guide to Career Enhancement tool allows staff to better connect with mentors and provides tips on how to update their individual development plans to identify new opportunities to better position themselves for future career successes.

NRAN 2020 Program diagram consisting of a black rectangle background with a circle in the center which is made up of 6 different colored sections, and categories in white font: 'Revisit Plans, Revise, & Repeat', 'Formalize a Plan & Document Your Achievements', 'Identify Opportunities to Develop', 'Identify Where Future Work Is Expected', 'Undersand the Skills Needed & Assess Your Skill Set', and 'Reflect on Personal Priorities'; each of the categories relates to one of the colored sections of the cirle in the middle of the image
Guide to Career Enhancement

The Employee Journey transformation initiative launched in summer 2020 and is a follow-on to the Career Enhancement initiative. The Employee Journey initiative team is focused on clarifying career paths based on future workload needs to drive employee retention, engagement, and development.

Recruiting the Workforce of Tomorrow

In addition to maintaining an engaged and highly skilled workforce, the NRC is also focused on recruiting the workforce of tomorrow. The NRC uses a variety of programs to promote awareness of the agency and provide hands-on learning opportunities to students and recent graduates.

In 2018, the NRC started the "A Week" program to provide Maryland's Montgomery County high school students a chance to spend a week at the NRC and work with our staff. The students were given a project and then presented their findings at the end of the week. This provided high school students with hands-on experience about how we work and what we do. For future opportunities contact Luis.Betancourt@nrc.gov

2019 'A Week' Program Participants
2019 "A Week" Program Participants

The NRC regularly advertises summer internship opportunities during fall job expos at colleges and universities across the country. Early internship offers provide greater flexibility to the NRC to match college students' skillsets with our program areas. It also provides college students with earlier acceptance into our internship program. Although the COVID-19 public health emergency changed how we onboard summer interns, the NRC had a robust summer 2020 internship program with 54 new summer interns and 20 returning interns. With backgrounds in engineering, science, audio-visual/graphic arts, information technology/information management, and finance, the summer interns worked on projects that expanded their knowledge of the NRC and how we work.

The NRC's Nuclear Regulator Apprenticeship Network (NRAN) recruits recent graduates with bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees and strong academic records to address expected skill needs of the agency. The 2020 cohort focused on graduates in health physics, earth sciences, or engineering disciplines. The members participate in focused training and real-world experiences through various apprenticeships working with technical experts. NRAN is a holistic apprenticeship that not only focuses on technical skills, but also personal and professional development. In June 2020, the 23-member cohort were virtually onboarded in the NRAN program. The cohort completed a 15-week training program, including technical, regulatory and organizational skills. In October 2020, the cohort began apprenticeships in many of the NRC headquarters and regional offices to expand and enhance their regulatory skills and professional development.

The NRC's Nuclear Regulator Apprenticeship Network (NRAN) group photo wearing masks
NRAN 2020 Program

See below to learn more about the NRC's transformation journey and focus areas.


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020